UN appeals Sana’a court to review 30 death sentences
Houthis authorities in Yemen this week sentenced 30 men to death amid allegations that many were tortured during their three-year detention for political motives, the UN office said on Friday.
The office urged the Court of Appeal in the Sana’a capital, which is controlled by the Houthis to review the sentences and go for a fair trial.
The first specialized criminal court issued death sentences on Tuesday, said Rafina Shamdassani, spokeswoman for the Human Rights Office.
She added in a press statement that most of the 30 men are academics, students and politicians “associated with the reform party that criticizes the Huthis.” It was referring to the Islamic Reform Party, which is part of the Saudi-
backed government of President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi.
“At no stage did they have a suitable opportunity to present their defense,” she said.
Houthi officials have yet to respond to press request for comment.
According to Shamdassani, the men were arrested in 2016 and charged in April 2017 of belonging to an armed group planning attacks or assassinations targeting security personnel and members of the Huthi-related Popular Committees and providing information to the Yemeni government.
“There is a high probability that many of these charges are politically motivated, there are credible allegations of torture and ill-treatment, our teams have been able to talk to the detainee’s families,” she said.
“Any politically motivated charges and full compliance with international fair trial standards should be dropped,” she said.
In a statement this week, Amnesty International denounced what it described as a “mockery of justice” in a trial in which the 30 men faced “fabricated charges, including spying for the Saudi-led coalition.”
The London-based organization said one of the detainees,
Yusuf al-Bawab, a linguist and political figure who was held
in solitary confinement, was reportedly tortured and
deprived of legal advice and medical care.